Shlissel Challahs  - Why & How?

Shlissel Challahs - Why & How?

  • Sara M. Edelstein, Ph.D.

    Shlissel Challah

    Tamar: You misquoted the Sefer HaTodah by R’Eliyahu Kitov. He does NOT write that “that there is a “custom to make challah in the form of a key.” He does write that there is a custom to arrange sesame seeds in the shape of a key on top of the challah. It’s wonderful to be creative in the kitchen, but when you title an article “Shlissel Challahs - Why & How” and then post it under “Jewish Learning”, you need to present that custom as accurately as possible. As you yourself wrote “since nearly all of us want blessing for a good parnossa, we usually find a way to push ourselves to get those challahs done, even after all the work of Pesach has just finished!” By presenting “those challahs” as intricate key shaped challahs, you place an unnecessary burden upon the uninformed who would otherwise have been more then happy to simply decorate the top of the challah in the shape of a key (see Taamei Haminhagim siman 597) or to merely pierce the dough of the challah with a key (see Taamei Haminhagim siman 596), as was the custom of my ancestors.
    Posted by Sara M. Edelstein, Ph.D. |April 30, 2020
    Hi Sara, and everyone else. The Sefer Hatoda'ah that I have here does say in the name of R' Kitov that some have the minhag to make the actual challah in the shape of a key. And thank you Sara, yes he also says that some sprinkle the seeds the way you mentioned. I have the page photocopied if anyone wants to see it directly from the source. You're also very correct: there's more than one way to do this minhag. Some do exactly like you said; some press a key into the dough right before it bakes, some wrap the key and put it into the challah, some make it in the key shape... A key/ shlissel challah needn't be intricate either. They are simple and fun to create. The most important part though, is really our tefillos, our prayers, when we do the mitzvah of hafrashas challah. That has the greatest impact. In addition to this, I interviewed Rebbetzin Sara Meisels of Bobov about this minhag and she gave me even more sources that I also did not know about. This was published originally with Hamodia a few years ago, and I put it up on my site. You can read it all right here: Thank you for your comments! Others have the minhag to just press the key into the challah. Some make ordinary challahs and then a small shape of a key to go on top of it. I will be showing this idea in my *FREE* Shlissel Challah Masterclass virtual zoom event this coming WEDNESDAY 27 April, 2022.
    Reply by Tamar Ansh | April 26, 2022
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